9 Days Wildlife Gorillas & Chimps
This 9 days safari will take you to Kibale Forest National Park considered the primate capital of the world and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Visit the home of the gentle giants (the mountain gorillas) in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Later experience the Batwa “pygmies” cultural experience via Lake Bunyonyi and conclude with a visit to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary before transfer to the airport
Day 1 – Arrival and transfer to Kampala Hotel
You’ll arrive at Entebbe International Airport located where a representative from Kawira Safaris will welcome you and transfer you to your Hotel in Entebbe.
Day 2 – Transfer to Fort Portal
After breakfast, you will be met by your driver and guide who will transfer you to Fort Portal town. The journey will take you through the lush green countryside on the Mityana and Mubende road to Fort Portal.
In the afternoon, you will visit the crater region and in the evening, complete your transfer to Kibale Forest National Park for dinner and overnight stay at Kibale Forest. Camp. You can upgrade to Kyaninga Lodge for Luxury. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 3 – Chimpanzee trekking, transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today, you’ll be in for some real monkey business! After breakfast, you’ll visit Kibale Forest National Park reputed to have the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. You will go on a guided nature walk in the tropical rainforest in search of the wild chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and many others.
The guides and rangers will provide detailed explanations on primates but the forest fauna and flora and ensure that your walk is both informative and enjoyable. Once you locate the chimpanzees, you will have a full hour with them at close quarters. After the mandatory one hour is finished, your guides and rangers will lead you back to the park headquarters from where you will commence your transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park with lunch en route. After lunch, you’ll travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park with the Rwenzori Mountains in the backdrop as you lose altitude to arrive at or around the park. You’ll check in at the Bush Lodge and relax in and around the lodge. Later, you will enjoy your dinner and overnight stay at the lodge. You can upgrade to Mweya Safari Lodge for luxury. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 4 – Chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge, boat trip along Kazinga channel
After breakfast at 6:30 a.m., you’ll head to Kyambura game headquarters for a briefing before embarking on your Chimpanzee trek in the beautiful gorge. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany your group on the morning trek into the forest to view wild chimpanzees and several other species of primates in their natural habitat. Chimpanzees, human’s closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5,000 remaining in Uganda.
Please note that tracking may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile as they search for food throughout the forest. After your chimpanzee trekking experience in Kyambura gorge, you will return to the lodge in time for lunch.
At 3:00 p.m., you will head to an afternoon boat trip on the Kazinga channel, the channel that links lakes Edward and George, and is considered the widest natural channel in the world, for game viewing and bird watching which are a key highlight of your safari.
On the two-hour boat cruise, look out for herds of elephants, buffaloes and antelopes, families of warthogs, large groups of hippos, and crocodiles basking on the channel’s banks. Kazinga’s shores are a haven for numerous birds including many migratory species. The cruise also provides a spectacular view of the beautiful Mweya. Dinner and overnight will be at the Bush Lodge. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 5 – Game Drive via Ishasha and transfer to Bwindi
Get up early and enjoy your breakfast. At 7:00 a.m., you’ll leave the Mweya, northern part of the park, and head south to the Ishasha area. The drive, which will serve as a morning game drive, will last between two to three hours. Set your eyes for more games. On arrival in the Ishasha area, you’ll search for the famous and unique tree-climbing lions.
If it is a hot day, which December largely is, be sure to find them atop the sycamore fig trees or the acacia trees that dominate this part of the park. There are about four prides of lions in the area numbering more than 40. Look out for the males with their black mane which is a notable attribute. Also, you may see a large number of elephants since about 1,000 or more of these animals are present in the area.
There are Topi and Uganda Kob antelopes in large numbers. The drive is a fantastic opportunity to take lots of pictures. After this drive, you’ll exit the park and complete your transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the southern sector. You’ll arrive in the late afternoon or early evening and check in at the Gorilla Valley Lodge for dinner and overnight stay. You can upgrade to Chameleon Hill Lodge for luxury. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 6 – Gorilla tracking
You’ll get up relatively early and enjoy breakfast to give you the energy you will need to track the famed mountain gorilla in the Bwindi mists. With your packed lunch in your rucksack, you’ll be taken by your guide to the ranger station before 8:00 a.m. for registration and briefing by one of the rangers.
Once the formalities of what to do and not to do while tracking the gentle giants are communicated, the guides will take you through the bush, pushing your way through the undergrowth, to track the gorillas. On the trek that can take from half an hour to five hours, you’ll need a reasonable degree of fitness and a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
Once you encounter the mountain gorillas, sit in the forest among the gorillas, listen to they grumble, and marvel at the sheer size of the dominant male – the silverback. It will be an extraordinary feeling to sit in the dense rainforest knowing you are with a few of the last remaining mountain gorillas. It’s important to note that there are only about 800 of these beautiful creatures left in the wild.
Once back at the starting point, your guide will be waiting to transfer you back to the lodge. Dinner and overnight will be at Gorilla Valley Lodge. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 7 – Transfer to Mgahinga and Batwa Trail experience
This morning, enjoy your breakfast and commence your transfer to Mgahinga National Park for your Batwa “pygmies” trail experience. The Batwas are one of the oldest peoples in Africa. They roam the forests looking for fruits and honey and hunt with bows and trained dogs. As the woods were cut down by the Bantu people, Batwa numbers dwindled.
A visit to the Batwa trail will be enable you to discover the magic of the indigenous people’s old home while partaking nature walks and learning about the group’s cultural heritage. During this moving cultural encounter tour, the Batwas will demonstrate hunting techniques, gather honey, point out medicinal plants, and demonstrate bamboo cups.
You are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture.
It is truly a unique experience for visitors to learn about the traditional culture of the indigenous people. After this activity, you will transfer to Lake Bunyonyi. Dinner and overnight will be at Birdsnest Bunyonyi. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 8 – Transfer to Entebbe
After breakfast, you can opt for a quick tour of some of Lake Bunyonyi’s beautiful islands or begin your journey to Entebbe via Kampala with a lunch stop in Mbarara town. After lunch, you’ll travel to Kampala with another stop at the Equator crossing for some fun photo shoots and a visit to the crafts village. Dinner and overnight will be at Lake Victoria View Guest House. You can upgrade to the Boma Hotel Entebbe. The meals provided on this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Day 9 – Ngamba Island Visit and Departure
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred to the Water Front at Entebbe where you will take a boat ride to Ngamba Island, 23 kilometers, to reach the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Upon arrival at Ngamba Island, you will be welcomed by the duty caregiver of the Chimpanzees.
The pre-arranged supplementary feeding times,11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. each day, bring the chimpanzees within meters of the raised walkway specially designed for easy viewing and excellent photographic opportunities. After lunch, you will take a boat ride back to Entebbe. Your guide will drop you off at the airport in time to catch your flight to your next destination. The meals provided on this day are breakfast and lunch.